TED Conversations

Skye Kelly

Executive Director, Heal One World

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Can we expect emerging countries to curb their energy consumption, even though we had decades of flagrant use?

China, India and other emerging countries- from 3rd to 1st world in a flash- are beginning to start using resources the way we have here in the USA for decades now- some are just "basic" like indoor electricity and city infrastructures, to more grandiose things like air conditioning, SUV's and sky scrapers. With their immense populations all looking for the western way of life, mcdonalds and all- can we try and hold them to any consumption standards? To reduce fossil fuel consumption in particular. To learn from our mistakes? Should we offset them by making deeper cuts at home? Even if it is more costly upfront- how can we have them see that renewable energy may save a lot in the long run? Do you know of some countries at the forefront? I know of Germany, but in the emerging sector? It seems these countries maybe the tipping point for many issues regarding sustainability?


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  • Sep 28 2012: I have a crazy suggestion. It relies on the idea that, if we want to create 15 TW of new power plants we just need to burn about 2 years of fossil fuels that we burn annually world wide. So can some one hack the economy in such a way that we just dig out all that fossil fuel and turn raw materials into solar panels in a few years and deploy it in the third world. This "special pool of fossil fuel" works in a parallel economy and can only be invested into the production of solar panels. Right now any money commited to renewables goes sloshing around in the economy leading to a multi decade plan for renewables. If someone can figure out a hack like I suggest, we could make this switch in less than a decade. Since the fossil fuel being used for this would have just remained buried in the earth for many years to come, we do not have to sacrifice anything to make this happen. In fact this blitz like approach can give a huge boost to the economy. http://www.ted.com/conversations/14109/can_we_switch_to_renewables_mu.html

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